Blue Stinger Review

Mixing the elements of Tomb Raider and Resident Evil, Blue Stinger represents the first action-adventure game for the 128-bit Dreamcast – something many looked forward to, and as a launch title for a 128-bit system, increased its chance of success.

Beginning with a long cinematic display, Blue Stinger immediately jumps out at you with crisp music and incredible graphics. The full motion video is top notch and a joy to witness. Most of the in-game graphics are equally appealing, with the exception of character detail sub-par for the Dreamcast. However, all of the backgrounds are superb, creating a great game environment.
The cinematic displays blend nicely with the actual game. Bosses often first appear in a cinematic display, then quickly shift to the in-game graphics. With so many unique environments, it’s refreshing to see the detail consistently above average. Most of the objects in the background can be interacted with, increasing Blue Stinger’s appeal.

By combining elements of Metal Gear Solid and Resident Evil, Blue Stinger provides a gripping storyline. Well-choreographed cinematic displays add a movie-like quality. Entering different rooms invokes different background tunes, each suited to creating an eerie ambiance to add tension and enjoyment. Voice acting and sound effects are as much part of the game as its background tracks. The sound effects, voice-overs, and music come together, except that the voice-acting and cinematic displays move along at quite a slow pace. There is also very foul language spewing from the characters’ mouths, something that most will smile at first, but frequency and use becomes irritating. Parents buying this game for their child should be forewarned: the graphic language pushes the limit. Another major problem is that characters move too slowly. Even when running, most gamers will wish their character would pick up the pace. Because there is reason to backtrack quite often, it gets a bit re petitive running at such a slow pace. Other than that, most controls are tight and concise.

Firing weapons is almost identical to Resident Evil — characters will automatically take aim at the nearest enemy, which limits the frustration factor quite a bit. Weapons and power-ups are found in many areas and once again resemble the type of interface we’re used to seeing in survival horror games. The difference here is that money, collected by destroying enemies buys firearms and ammunition from vending machines. That’s right, not only are hotdogs and hamburgers available from the vending machines, but also shotgun shells as well. After spending $130 dollars on a hotdog, most will be relieved that a case of shotgun shells runs at a mere $20.

Two characters are playable and you may toggle between them at any time during the game. Since each has his own strengths and weaknesses, it takes a bit of thinking when it comes to deciding when to use what character. Both characters control identically and react similarly when prompted. The main difference is their speed and weapons carried.

Most enemies are relatively easy to beat and offer no real challenge, while solving the puzzles is easy as well. Much of the difficulty comes from not knowing what to do or becoming disoriented. However, disorientation is kept to a minimum and only shows its face when entering a small room and trying to look around. Occasionally your exact short-term objective can be difficult to understand due to the technical words that are often used by computers and comrades. Once realized, each task is fairly logical and only novice gamers will find themselves stuck for any length of time.

Unfortunately, Blue Stinger offers very little replay value once the game is completed, although there are several cheats (such as unlimited ammunition) obtained by beating the game a second and third time. After completing the game, it should take you no longer than four hours to complete it again and this is due to the slow speed.

While not thoroughly disappointing, Blue Stinger doesn’t overly impress either. The lack of originality and slow game speed threaten boredom, but Blue Stinger makes a save with great graphics, above average voice-acting and excellent music. Unless you’re a huge fan of the genre, looking for a Dreamcast launch title, I wouldn’t suggest buying Blue Stinger. Better to spend your money on Resident Evil — CODE: Veronica.

Graphics

Intensely decorated backgrounds and environments make up for the slight lack of character detail. Cinematic displays resemble the CGI of Toy Story and show off the power of the Dreamcast.

Sound

Graphic language is used when it’s not needed, but sounds, music, and decent voice- acting aid to the cinematic presence of the game.

Enjoyment

While Blue Stinger finds itself right in the middle of the pack, neither shining brightly nor completely failing, it’s not up to par with popular survival horror games for the 32-bit PlayStation, and most will be better off avoiding the $50 price tag Blue Stinger carries. However, huge fans of the genre might want to rent before buying. All others should simply pass.

Replay Value

The genre doesn’t lend itself well to any sort of replay value. Once completing the game most will not see a reason to pick it up again. Without any outside aid, the game should be finished within thirty hours.

Documentation

The manual does a nice job explaining the details, yet doesn’t offer any information about solving the game’s puzzles.

Rating: 75/100